Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Applications open for second Testimony HQ cohort


(Left to right) Rev. Robert Gorrell (pastor, Lawton-Centenary) moderates a panel discussion with fellow Denman Award winners Buddy Moore (lay member, Lost Creek), Rev. Tiffany Nagel Monroe (director, St. Paul School of Theology, Oklahoma Campus), and Rev. Mark Foster (pastor, Edmond-Acts 2). Gorrell spoke about his experience in the first Testimony HQ cohort at the 2022 Annual Conference.

Applications opened May 1 for congregations interested in joining the second cohort of Perkins School of Theology’s Testimony HQ grant-funded initiative. Ten churches will be selected for the second cohort, which launches January 1, 2023. Churches of any denomination within a 350-mile radius of Dallas, Texas, are eligible to apply.

Applications will be accepted through June 20. A Zoom informational session is scheduled for June 9 for those interested in learning more.

Nine churches are currently participating in the program as part of the first cohort, including Lawton-Centenary. Participating churches receive teaching, coaching, and print and video material related to testimony. Church leaders work through the Testimony HQ curriculum and learn how the regular practice of testimony can transform the church’s ministry. Each church receives a stipend to cover food and other expenses for the Testimony HQ learning sessions, as well as expenses related to outreach into the church’s wider community.

Rev. Robert Gorrell, who pastors Lawton-Centenary, shared about his church’s experience with Testimony HQ during the 2022 Oklahoma Annual Conference. He moderated a panel of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award winners to discuss the importance of testimony in churches.

“At some point, we have to be more interested in the harvest than we are in the barn,” said Rev. Mark Foster, pastor of Edmond-Acts 2.

A third cohort is planned to begin January 2024. Ultimately, the project at Perkins aims to embed testimony as community engagement into the practice of 30 congregations within a 350-mile radius of Dallas.

“Testimony HQ got started because we could see the incredible value of testimony in building community,” said Rev. Priscilla Pope-Levison, research professor of practical theology at Perkins and one of the co-principal investigators for the cohort. “After much thought and prayer, we decided to become a hub or headquarters for churches to learn and practice this way of doing testimony. Community and connection flow out from a thriving congregation’s practice of testimony into the world around it.”

For more information and to apply, visit www.testimonyhq.com. To contact the grant team, email testimonyhq@smu.edu.

Register to attend the Zoom information session from 12-1 p.m. on June 9 to find out more information about what the grant work entails and how it will help your church thrive. To register and receive the Zoom link, RSVP to Jeanette Cordova at jlcordova@smu.edu.


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